It’s not easy taking over from the boss’s son as Franz Prenner has learned.

Just nine months into his job as chief executive of the Cannes International Advertising Festival (aka the Cannes Lions) Prenner – former managing director of Publicis-FCB in Vienna – has decided to step down for unspecified ‘personal reasons’ and return to his native Austria from the London event office.

Appointed at the turn of this year [WAMN: 25-Jan-02], Prenner took over from Romain Hatchuel, son of the festival’s chairman Roger Hatchuel who also owns Eurobest, the company organizing the event.

It was a baptism of fire, facing not only the decidedly unfestive post 9/11 environment and a savage world adspend recession, but also a well publicized eruption of ego when O&M Worldwide threatened to boycott this year's event because of allegations against its Singapore shop (unfounded as it later turned out) of submitting so called “scam ads” – those that have never been aired for real clients in real campaigns.

Under Prenner’s baton, this year’s festival went well enough given the unsympathetic climate, although attendances were well down and plans for a three-day additional direct marketing event were cancelled following a tsunami of apathy. The latter event is to be resuscitated in 2003 – the festival’s 50th anniversary.

In the interim Hatchuel junior will assume the ceo’s duties pending the appointment of Prenner’s replacement.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff